This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. As you learn by reading Behind The Mist, the Noble and Great horses are chosen to become unicorns in the after-life.
This blog post is about the great Canadian Show Jumper: Big Ben
Big Ben was an enormous Belgian Warmblood. He was born on April 20, 1976 in Kalmthout, Belgium. He was originally named Winston after Winston Churchill. He grew to 17.3 hands. (A hand is 4 inches and is measured at the withers.) Winston was sold in 1983 for $2,000 to a farm in the Netherlands. His name was changed to Big Ben and his price tag became big as well. He was sold shortly thereafter for $45,000 as a mount for Canadian Equestrian, Ian Miller and moved to Miller Brooke Farm in Perth, Ontario, Canada.
In 1984, his remarkable show jumping career began. His list of accomplishments looks like a mobster's rap sheet it is so long! Just to name a few: He competed with the Canadian equestrian team 3 times. He won the World Cup Jumping Championship 2 years in a row: 1988 in Gothenburg, Sweden and 1989 in Tampa, Florida. His total winnings were over $1.5 Million!In 1992, Big Ben survived a trailer accident that left two horses dead, a third too injured to ever be ridden again and a fourth too afraid to ever go in a trailer again. Not only did he survive, he went on the win a Grand Prix just two months later.
Hold on to your heart as you watch this video of him competing!
Big Ben was retired from competition in 1994 at the age of 18 after 11 years of competing. He spent his last days at the Miller Brooke Farm, where he is now buried. He was Euthanized after a serious bout of Colic on Dec. 11, 1999.
He is a Canandian Icon and even has a stamp made in his honor. Big Ben was inducted into the Ontario Sports Legend Hall of Fame and joined Northern Dancer as the only other horse to be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
A beautiful statue has been erected in his honor along the banks of the Tay river in Perth. The life-sized statue was created by sculptor Stewart Smith and depicts Ben carrying Miller over a 5 and 1/2 foot jump.
You can read more about Big Ben in the book Big Ben by Lawrence Scanlan and in a chapter found in An Apple A Day submitted by his groom, Sandi Hill.